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Only One London Restaurant Could Convince Influencers to Dip Tripe In Ketchup

St. John is the city’s most influential restaurant, but it’s damn hard to get a good flatlay

St. John’s 25th party served up tripe and ketchup Gemma Bell/Instagram

Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is buggin’.

News of the week

The number of restaurants that survive a quarter-century in the brutal thunderdome that is the nation’s capital can probably be counted on one hand. The number of culinary icons that can be credited with shaping how a whole generation of diners ate and enjoyed eating, ditto. All of which is to say that if St. John’s 25th birthday party — and its absolutely stacked guest list — felt a little on the OTT side, then that was precisely the point. How better to celebrate two-and-a-half decades of bone marrow, booze, and whole suckling pigs than with the world’s most on-brand bender? After all, if Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver have taught London anything, it’s that nothing exceeds like excess.

Offspring of the week

It’s an endearing quirk of fate that St. John shares the week of its birth with Black Axe Mangal. Former St. John Bread and Wine head chef Lee Tiernan has spent the past four years infusing the restaurant’s DNA with a range of passions — heavy metal seasoning, electroclash aesthetics, Platonic ideal of kebab van flavour profiles — very much his own: The end result is perhaps the clearest case study of how inspiration and influence diffuse throughout a city’s restaurant scene. Perhaps, in the fullness of time, BAM will birth its own kin — and a certain Smithfield institution can revel in the glow of grandparenthood.

Clandestine orifices of the week

Give someone nothing but a hammer, the saying goes, and eventually everything starts looking like a nail. Give someone prolonged exposure to a single Instagram account, and eventually everything starts looking like, well, that account’s subject. Right? Right?

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Pistachio cake, greengages & co

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Taking it easy on a Sunday afternoon ♾ #ELM_London

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Fake meat of the week

A fixture — along with oyster mushrooms, bull’s heart tomatoes, and lamb’s quarters — at Homonym, east London’s most confusing vegan restaurant.

Instagram epigram of the week
Live fast, die cold.

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Bolognese graffiti

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Blatant IP infringement of the week
For weeks, Quality Wines has been serving the house riff on a BLT in Farringdon — with pancetta taking the place of the more common bacon. Those pursuing lawsuits against McDonald’s may not exactly have a stellar record, but this looks like an open and shut case.

Missed opportunity of the week

Crouch Hill, surely?

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Could it be?

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Might in be....?

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Is it.....

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Presentational flourish of the week

Introducing what is being tentatively declared “the rockpool,” an increasingly ubiquitous way of plating a liquid — usually an oil — on top of a sort-of-solid — usually an ice cream or a parfait — and making it look slick AF.

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Trendy breakfast.

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Pasta dish / dish / showstopper / doorstop of the week

All hail the pasta-bake-lasagne-pie humanity never previously realised it needed.

Shot of the week

*Gingerly crosses legs*

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Eely good

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St. John

26 Saint John Street, , England EC1M 4AY 020 7251 0848 Visit Website

Quality Wines

88 Farringdon Road, , England EC1R 3EA Visit Website

Black Axe Mangal

156 Canonbury Road, , England N1 2UP Visit Website